By Helen Callier
August 30th, 2020
How many times have you said, “it’s the City”? Once, twice, or more than a dozen times?
From all project files being uploaded into one mygov folder to plans not sealed to sheets stamped as “not for construction” to arguing about the City uses the wrong IBC (International Building Code) to a plethora of other reasons for pointing fingers and blaming the local jurisdiction.
Here is what we know, and do for our clients, is to start early with the permitting process to minimize and mitigate as many reasons for delays and rejections as possible once the plans are submitted for permitting. Depending on the type of project i.e. new ground up, major renovation, remodels, or major repairs, the early phase of design may differ slightly followed by the pre-construction phase. It is, at the latest, during the pre-con phase, the best time to review jurisdiction’s web site for the following:
- Changes in permitting processes
- Confirm building codes
- Review design checklist for any deficiencies
- Check on required pre-requisite documents
Often, we will receive a call from a Contractor, Project Owner or from an Architect saying, “the City is not listening to us and is holding up our permit. Can you help respond to the rejection comments”? We ask, “how long have the plans been at the City?” And after reviewing the notes in the jurisdiction’s online system, we frequently find that there may be two or three critical rejection comments and once those are addressed all the other comments drop off because they are being caused by the major two or three comments.
With frustrations high, the Contractor, Project Owner or Architect, says, “handle it!” because they need the permit like yesterday. We get it; and understand Plan Reviewers’ mindset, different cultures across jurisdictions, latest building codes, best way to address jurisdiction comments and pull a building permit as quickly as possible.
To assist those in a “It’s the City” problem position right now, below are 5 tips to consider to re-calibrate and to obtain permit in a timely manner.
- Pull all rejection comments from jurisdictions
- Review original plan set submitted and mark-up copy of plans based on comments to review with your team
- Contact Plan Reviewer to schedule a meeting to review in person or by phone
- Have a positive attitude, and jot down your thoughts of best approach to address comments to review with Plan Reviewer
- Take notes when meeting with Plan Reviewer and when there is a sticking point, ask if they would consider xyz change or what about this approach to meet code.
Most readers to keep up with my monthly column know that I believe in following the basics in permitting. Like in sports i.e. football, basketball, soccer, etc., you win the game by mastering the basics. And in permitting, covering the basics are the key foundation to pulling permits in a timely manner and minimizes headaches. So, review the 5 tips above for your simple offensive moves to make sure you are moving in the right direction and eliminating the words “It’s the City” from your vocabulary. That’s it for now. Call us first at 1.844.PERMIT.4 when have questions on building permits.